To recap, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to state superintendent Glenda Ritz on May 1, informing her Indiana was at risk of losing its No Child Left Behind waiver. The federal government gave Indiana a June 30 deadline to submit proof it is meeting the feds’ expectations to keep the waiver.
The waiver exempts Indiana from meeting No Child Left Behind standards, such as a 100 percent proficiency in math and language arts by this year and other parameters regarding teacher evaluations and school performance.
The areas where Indiana wasn’t meeting the federal government’s expectations were:
- College and career ready standards and assessments
- Intervention and monitoring in low performing schools
- Teacher and principal evaluations
- Community engagement and input on education policy issues
The proposal outlines how they will meet those standards going forward. Here are the main takeaways from each area’s plan.
College And Career Ready Standards And Assessments
The proposal explains how the DOE asked teachers what resources they need to prepare for implementing the new standards this coming school year, and said they will work to provide rubrics for lesson plans, Model Content Frameworks and resources for teaching to students with disabilities, English language learners and high ability students.
As for the assessment portion of the waiver requirements, the proposal outlines a timeline to implement an updated ISTEP+ exam that will test how students are meeting Indiana’s new standards.
May/June 2014: Specification review meetings and test blueprint development
Early June 2014: Passage review meetings
June/July 2014: Item development
Early August 2014: Content review and bias/sensitivity review meetings
Fall 2014: Form selection and build
March 2015: Administer open-ended items
May 2015: Administer machine-scored items
Summer 2015: Standard setting (cut score setting)
CTB/McGraw-Hill is creating the test for this year, and the State Board of Education is looking for other vendors to create a new test for following years.
Accountability And Intervention In Low-Performing Schools
Part of the state’s plan to improve Priority and Focus Schools (schools that have consistently low test scores) include removing ineffective principals or giving them mentors from better performing schools, implementing anti-bullying programs or other programs to improve school culture, improving recruiting and hiring techniques for teachers and providing more teacher development.
Starting this past school year, the state created Outreach Coordinators to work with low performing schools on improving. Here’s how the IDOE described their role:
Examine evidence of interventions and verify implementation through classroom observations, staff interviews, document review, and formative assessment data. Coordinators will provide (schools) with an intervention status update based on the monitoring evidence, which provides (schools) with next steps.
A summative monitoring rubric will be given to (schools) following a second monitoring visit, which will clearly define progress with interventions. A document will be maintained at IDOE which tracks the status of implementation of interventions for each priority school to ensure three years of successful implementation of interventions.
Teacher and Principal Evaluations
The proposal explains the state’s A-F accountability system as well as Indiana’s system for evaluating teachers, both of which are relatively new. The proposal explains the first year of data from the 2012-13 school year and how these meet the federal standards for a waiver.
Improvements to how schools evaluate educators’ effectiveness include assessing students in subject other than math and language arts to identify effective teachers in those non-standards areas.
Increased and improved teacher development opportunities is another part of the state’s plan to keep the waiver.
To make the changes and improvements listed above, the IDOE “worked with educators and stakeholders, gathered information and shared important information about the amendments to the request” to make sure all students and teachers were represented in the education plan to keep the waiver.
They also list all of the groups in the state they meet with throughout the year to discuss various issues, including Indiana Association of School Principals, Indiana Federation of Teachers, Indiana’s Charter School Association and Indiana Small and Rural School Association, among others.